Famous 19th Century Botanists

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Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Botanists, including Charles Darwin, George Washington Carver, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Jan Smuts.
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 1 
Jagadish Chandra Bose
26
Birthdate: November 30, 1858
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bikrampur, Bengal Presidency, British India (Now Munshiganj District of Bangladesh)
Died: November 23, 1937

Indian physicist, biologist, and plant physiologist Jagadish Chandra Bose revolutionized science with his research on how plants and animals react to external stimuli. He founded the Bose Institute, made pioneering contribution to the field of radio and microwave optics, and also penned one of the first works of Bengali science fiction.

 2 
John Muir
(Naturalist)
John Muir
6
Birthdate: April 21, 1838
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunbar
Died: December 24, 1914

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, botanist, zoologist, and author. Nicknamed Father of the National Parks and John of the Mountains, Muir was an influential proponent of the preservation of wilderness in the US. He is credited with co-founding the American conservation organization, The Sierra Club. Muir is considered a hero by many environmentalists around the world.

 3 
Marie Stopes
(Paleobotanist & Women’s Rights Activists)
Marie Stopes
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: October 2, 1958

Apart from being a successful botanist, Marie Stopes was also a popular activist, known for her contribution to the feminist cause. A leading supporter of birth control, she established the UK’s first clinic for family planning. She was also known for her books Married Love and Wise Parenthood.

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 4 
Joseph Banks
(British Explorer, Naturalist and Botanist)
Joseph Banks
6
Birthdate: February 24, 1743
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 19, 1820

British naturalist Joseph Banks is remembered for accompanying Captain James Cook on his voyage across places such as Brazil and Tahiti. He had also been the president of the Royal Society for over 40 years. Both his herbarium and library now find a place at the British Museum.

 5 
Gertrude Jekyll
(Horticulturist, Painter, Gardener, Non-fiction writer, Botanist, Architect)
Gertrude Jekyll
8
Birthdate: November 29, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: December 8, 1932

Landscape architect Gertrude Jekyll was born into an affluent family and grew up in a refined environment, learning music and traveling. Initially interested in painting, she gave it up to focus on gardening when she developed eyesight problems. She built around 400 gardens and also collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens.

 6 
Matthias Jakob Schleiden
(German Botanist & Co-founder of 'Cell Theory')
Matthias Jakob Schleiden
6
Birthdate: April 5, 1804
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamburg
Died: June 23, 1881

Matthias Jakob Schleiden was a German botanist who is credited with co-founding cell theory along with Rudolf Virchow and Theodor Schwann. He is also remembered for his service as a professor at the University of Dorpat from the mid 1860s.

 7 
Joseph Dalton Hooker
(British Botanist, Explorer and Founder of Geographical Botany)
Joseph Dalton Hooker
5
Birthdate: June 30, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Halesworth, Suffolk, England
Died: December 10, 1911

British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker is remembered as one of Charles Darwin’s greatest supporters. The man who is known as the pioneer of geographical botany, Hooker followed in the footsteps of his botanist father. The Copley Medal winner is also known for his iconic work Genera Plantarum.

 8 
Luther Burbank
(Horticulturist, Geneticist, Botanist, Gardener, Academic, Non-fiction writer)
Luther Burbank
6
Birthdate: March 7, 1849
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa Rosa
Died: April 11, 1926

Luther Burbank was an American horticulturist and botanist. A pioneer in agricultural science, Luther Burbank developed over 800 varieties of plants and strains in an illustrious career that spanned 55 years. He is also credited with developing a spineless cactus that served as cattle feed. In 1986, Luther Burbank was made an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

 9 
Hugo de Vries
(Botanist, Biologist, Geneticist, University teacher)
Hugo de Vries
7
Birthdate: February 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haarlem
Died: May 21, 1935
 10 
Dmitri Ivanovsky
(Russian Botanist, the Co-Discoverer of Viruses and One of the Founders of Virology)
Dmitri Ivanovsky
5
Birthdate: October 28, 1864
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gdov, Russia
Died: June 20, 1920

Best remembered for his co-discovery of viruses during his research on the mosaic disease in tobacco, Russian botanist Dmitri Ivanovsky is regarded as one of the pioneers of virology. Interestingly, following his discovery, he didn’t focus on virology much and taught plant anatomy and physiology instead.

 11 
Li Ching-Yuen
(Herbalist)
Li Ching-Yuen
6
Birthplace: Chongqing, China
Died: May 6, 1933

Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese martial artist, herbalist, and tactical advisor. Li Ching-Yuen, who is believed to have lived off a diet of rice wine and exotic herbs throughout his life, is best remembered for his extreme longevity claim. According to his claim, Li Ching-Yuen lived for 250 years, although gerontologists consider that to be a myth.

 12 
David Starr Jordan
(Botanist, Peace activist, Zoologist, Autobiographer, Ichthyologist)
David Starr Jordan
6
Birthdate: January 19, 1851
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gainesville (village), New York
Died: September 19, 1931

Remembered as the first president of the Leland Stanford Junior University, now known as Stanford University, David Starr Jordan was a reputed ichthyologist. An anti-war activist, too, who opposed America’s participation in World War I, he spent his later years as the chief director of the World Peace Foundation.

 13 
Martinus Beijerinck
(Microbiologist)
Martinus Beijerinck
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1851
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: January 1, 1931
 14 
Daniel Rutherford
(Former physician, chemist and botanist who is known for the isolation of nitrogen in 1772)
Daniel Rutherford
3
Birthdate: November 3, 1749
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1819

Best known for discovering nitrogen gas, Scottish chemist Daniel Rutherford was also initially a practicing physician. A skilled botanist, he also taught botany at the University of Edinburgh. His other inventions include the maximum and minimum thermometers. He also co-founded the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 15 
Ynes Mexia
(Mexican-American Botanist Best Known For Her Large Collection of Plants)
Ynes Mexia
5
Birthdate: May 24, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: July 12, 1938

Ynes Mexia was a Mexican-American botanist best remembered for her large collection of specimens of plants and flora originating from the sites of Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. She collected more than 150,000 specimens over a period of 16 years, during which she encountered various challenges, including dangerous terrain, poisonous berries, earthquakes, and bogs. 

 16 
Asa Gray
(The Most Prominent Botanist of the 19th Century)
Asa Gray
5
Birthdate: November 18, 1810
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sauquoit, New York, United States
Died: January 30, 1888

Asa Gray was an American botanist best remembered for authoring a book on botany, which came to be known as Gray's Manual. He also served as a professor at Harvard University and often met leading natural scientists of his time, including Charles Darwin. Asa Gray is widely regarded as the most prominent botanist of the 19th century.

 17 
Peter Simon Pallas
(German Naturalist Who Explored the Geology of Russia)
Peter Simon Pallas
5
Birthdate: September 22, 1741
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 8, 1811

German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas was born to a professor of surgery and had, by age 15, formulated classifications of several animal groups. He chiefly worked in and around Russia, and is remembered for his 3-volume geological study, Journey Through Various Provinces of the Russian Empire.

 18 
Joseph Banks Rhine
(American Botanist Who Founded Parapsychology as a Branch of Psychology)
Joseph Banks Rhine
7
Birthdate: September 29, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 20, 1980

Joseph Banks Rhine was an American botanist best remembered for his research and study of parapsychology. He is credited with founding Duke University's parapsychology lab, the Parapsychological Association (PA), the Rhine Research Center, and the Journal of Parapsychology.

 19 
David Douglas
(Botanist)
David Douglas
5
Birthdate: June 25, 1799
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scone, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: July 12, 1834
 20 
Philipp Franz von Siebold
(German Physician and Botanist Known for Pioneering Western Medicine in Japan)
Philipp Franz von Siebold
5
Birthdate: February 17, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Würzburg, Germany
Died: October 18, 1866

German physician and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold was considered a pioneer of Western medicine in Japan. His works include the iconic book Flora Japonica. He fathered a daughter with a Japanese courtesan, who grew up to be Kusumoto Ine, Japan’s first female doctor with knowledge in Western medicine.

 21 
William Bartram
(The First Naturalist Who Penetrated the Dense Tropical Forests of Florida)
William Bartram
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1739
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 22, 1823

William Bartram was an American ornithologist, botanist, explorer, and natural historian. He is best remembered for authoring an acclaimed book, which is now known as Bartram's Travels. The book chronicles Bartram's explorations of the British colonies in North America. William Bartram was also one of America's first ornithologists.

 22 
Francis Darwin
(Botanist)
Francis Darwin
5
Birthdate: August 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kent
Died: September 19, 1925

Apart from being the third son of legendary naturalist Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin was a botanist in his own right, too. While he initially studied math, he later switched to natural sciences and then also studied medicine. He is best remembered for his contribution to phototropism.

 23 
Lester Frank Ward
(American Paleontologist, Botanist, and Sociologist Who Promoted Bringing Sociology Courses Into the Higher Education System in America)
Lester Frank Ward
5
Birthdate: June 18, 1841
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Joliet, Illinois, United States
Died: April 18, 1913

Lester Frank Ward was an American paleontologist, botanist, and sociologist. He is best remembered for his service as the American Sociological Association's first president. Lester Frank Ward played an important role in bringing Sociology courses into the higher education system in America. 

 24 
Janaki Ammal
(Botanist)
Janaki Ammal
7
Birthdate: 1897 AD
Birthplace: Thalassery
Died: 1984 AD

Janaki Ammal was an Indian botanist whose work concerning phytogeography, cytogenetics, and plant breeding earned her India's fourth-highest honor, the Padma Shri, in 1977. She is credited with improving India’s indigenous sugarcane varieties. She also helped analyze sugarcane's geographical distribution across India.

Augustin Pyrame de Candolle
5
Birthdate: February 4, 1778
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: September 9, 1841

Swiss botanist Augustin Pyrame de Candolle excelled in literature and poetry in school but later focused on botany. He is remembered for establishing scientific standards and classification for plant genera. Known for his Théorie élémentaire de la botanique, he later lent his name to several plant species and genera.

 26 
Pierre-Joseph Redouté
(Belgian Painter Known for His Watercolours of Roses, Lilies and Other Flowers at the 'Château de Malmaison')
Pierre-Joseph Redouté
5
Birthdate: July 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Hubert, Belgium
Died: June 19, 1840

Belgian-born French painter and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté, also known as the Raphael of flowers, was a famous court painter and one of the greatest botanical illustrators of his time. Known for his iconic pieces such as Les Liliacées, he was a specialist of painting roses, too.

 27 
David Fairchild
(American Botanist and Plant Explorer Credited With Introducing Over 200,000 Exotic Plants to the United States)
David Fairchild
5
Birthdate: April 7, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States
Died: August 6, 1954

David Fairchild was an American plant explorer and botanist. He is credited with introducing over 200,000 exotic plants to the United States. He also introduced varieties of established crops, including soybeans, mangos, bamboos, dates, and pistachios. In 1933, the National Academy of Sciences honored him with the Public Welfare Medal.

Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
5
Birthdate: April 12, 1748
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: September 17, 1836
 29 
Adelbert von Chamisso
(German Poet Who Was Also a Noted Botanist and Philologist)
Adelbert von Chamisso
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sivry-Ante, France
Died: August 21, 1838

German poet and lyricist Adelbert von Chamisso, who lived in the 19th century, is chiefly remembered for his legendary fairy tale, Peter Schlemihl’s Remarkable Story. He also established the Berlin romanticist society Nordsternbund and was a noted botanist, too. He was also interested in philology and Australasian languages.

 30 
Heinrich Anton de Bary
(German Surgeon, Botanist, Microbiologist, and Mycologist Known for Demonstrating Sexual Life Cycle of Fungi)
Heinrich Anton de Bary
5
Birthdate: January 26, 1831
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died: January 19, 1888

German surgeon and botanist Heinrich Anton de Bary is regarded as the pioneer of plant pathology and mycology. Apart from teaching botany, he chalked the life cycles of many fungi and also coined the term symbiosis to explain the mutually beneficial co-existence of many orgnanisms, such as fungi and algae.

 31 
Mikhail Tsvet
(Botanist)
Mikhail Tsvet
5
Birthdate: May 14, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Asti, Italy
Died: June 26, 1919
 32 
Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen
(Danish Botanist, Physiologist, and Geneticist Best Known for Coining the Terms Gene, Phenotype and Genotype)
Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Elsinore, Denmark
Died: November 11, 1927

Danish geneticist and botanist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen is remembered for his research on plant heredity. Initially a professor, who had also taught plant physiology at the University of Copenhagen, he later focused on research. He is also credited with coining the terms phenotype, genotype, and genes.

 33 
Ferdinand von Mueller
(German-Australian Botanist Who Founded the National Herbarium of Victoria and Named Many Australian Plants)
Ferdinand von Mueller
3
Birthdate: June 30, 1825
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rostock, Germany
Died: October 10, 1896

Ferdinand von Mueller was a German-Australian geographer, physician, and botanist. He is credited with founding the National Herbarium of Victoria, the oldest scientific institution in Victoria. He is also credited with naming several Australian plants. Such is his popularity that many plants, animals, journals, and places in Australia are named after him. 

 34 
Jens Peter Jacobsen
(Danish Novelist, Poet, and Scientist)
Jens Peter Jacobsen
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1847
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thisted, Denmark
Died: April 30, 1885

Danish author Jens Peter Jacobsen is remembered for pioneering the Naturalist mode of writing in Danish literature. While he initially translated some of Charles Darwin’s works, he later penned novels such as Marie Grubbe: A Lady of the Seventeenth Century. He is also known for his poems, which were released posthumously.

 35 
Birbal Sahni
(Palaeobotanist)
Birbal Sahni
29
Birthdate: 1891 AD
Birthplace: Saharanpur district
Died: April 10, 1949

Birbal Sahni was a pioneer of palaeobotanical research in India. The founder of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, he also taught botany at BHU and Lucknow University. He was also interested in music and tennis, and loved collecting coins. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society, too.

 36 
John Lindley
(British Botanist, Gardener and Orchidologist)
John Lindley
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1799
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Old Catton, England
Died: November 1, 1865

The son of a nurseryman, British botanist John Lindley revolutionized the plant classification system by introducing a method of considering all characters of plants. Known for his iconic work The Vegetable Kingdom, he also had a wide collection of orchids, which eventually found a place at the Kew Gardens.

 37 
William Jackson Hooker
(British Botanist and Botanical Illustrator Best Known for Expanding and Developing the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew)
William Jackson Hooker
2
Birthdate: July 6, 1785
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Norwich, England
Died: August 12, 1865

Botanist William Jackson Hooker made history as the first director of the Kew Gardens, or the Royal Botanic Gardens. Born to a merchant’s clerk who was also an amateur botanist, Hooker developed an interest in insects, birds, and plants at an early age. He was also known for his plant illustrations.

 38 
Frederic Edward Clements
(Plant Ecologist and a Pioneer in the Study of Vegetation Succession and Plant Ecology)
Frederic Edward Clements
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Died: July 26, 1945

Frederic Edward Clements was an American plant ecologist. He was a pioneer in the study of vegetation succession and plant ecology. He also served as a professor in prestigious institutions like the University of Nebraska and the University of Minnesota.

 39 
Harry Johnston
(British Explorer and Botanist)
Harry Johnston
2
Birthdate: June 12, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kennington Park, London, England
Died: July 31, 1927

British botanist Harry Johnston is remembered for his extensive exploratory voyages to Africa. His explorations gave way to the 19th-century Scramble for Africa by colonial powers. He had also been a painter and a freelance journalist in his initial days in Africa. He also penned countless books on Africa.

 40 
Lorenz Oken
(One of the Most Prominent German Natural Philosophers of the 19th Century)
Lorenz Oken
4
Birthdate: August 1, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bohlsbach, Germany
Died: August 11, 1851

German naturalist and botanist Lorenz Oken is remembered as one of the most significant German natural philosophers of the 19th century and a leader of the Naturphilosophie movement. His studies on Wolfgang von Goethe’s theory on the vertebrate skull helped prepare ground for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

 41 
John Stevens Henslow
(British Priest, Botanist and Geologist Best Remembered as Friend and Mentor to His Pupil 'Charles Darwin')
John Stevens Henslow
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rochester, Kent, England
Died: May 16, 1861

John Stevens Henslow was not just a priest but also revolutionized the teaching methods of botany at Cambridge University. One of his students was legendary naturalist Charles Darwin. He also co-founded the Cambridge Philosophical Society and explored various regions, such as the Isle of Man, as a geologist.

 42 
Carl Correns
(German Botanist and Geneticist Remembered for His Work on the Principles of Heredity)
Carl Correns
5
Birthdate: September 19, 1864
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: February 14, 1933

German botanist and geneticist Carl Correns is remembered for re-working on rediscovered Gregor Mendel’s paper on the principles of heredity. He was a student of renowned Swedish botanist Karl Nägeli. Initially a botany instructor at the University of Tübingen, he later became the first director at the Berlin-based Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology.

 43 
Michel Adanson
(Botanist)
Michel Adanson
2
Birthdate: April 7, 1727
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
Died: August 3, 1806
 44 
Julius von Sachs
(German Botanist Remembered for Developing Experimental Plant Physiology)
Julius von Sachs
2
Birthdate: October 2, 1832
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: May 29, 1897

German botanist Julius von Sachs is remembered for his contribution to the development of experimental plant physiology. He also conducted significant studies on areas such as transpiration of water. He was the chair of botany at the University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau and a professor of botany at the University of Würzburg.

 45 
Thomas Nuttall
(British Botanist and Zoologist Known for His Discoveries of North American Plants)
Thomas Nuttall
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1786
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Long Preston, England
Died: September 10, 1859

English botanist and naturalist Thomas Nuttal is best known for his popular volume The Genera of North American Plants. He later taught natural history at Harvard and also studied birds, eventually releasing a book on American birds, too. He also undertook a voyage to Columbia River and Hawaii.

 46 
John Claudius Loudon
(Scottish Landscape Gardener and Architect Who Was the First to Use the Term 'Arboretum' in Writing)
John Claudius Loudon
2
Birthdate: April 8, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: December 14, 1843

Scottish gardener and landscape artist John Claudius Loudon was also an influential horticultural journalist who wrote extensively on gardens, parks, and home architecture. Known for introducing the Gardenesque style of décor and popularizing the concept of arboretum, he also penned the widely popular The Suburban Gardener and Villa Companion.

 47 
Katherine Esau
(German-American Botanist Known for Her Work on Plant Anatomy)
Katherine Esau
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dnipro, Ukraine
Died: June 4, 1997

Katherine Esau was a German-American botanist best remembered for her work on plant anatomy, for which she was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Science by President George Bush in 1989. Katherine Esau also made significant contributions as an author, lecturer, and scientist. 

 48 
Gottlieb Haberlandt
2
Birthdate: November 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ungarisch-Alternburg, Hungary
Died: January 30, 1945
 49 
George Bentham
(Botanist)
George Bentham
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1800
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stoke Village, Plymouth, England
Died: September 10, 1884

Born to a naval architect father and a botanist mother, George Bentham was also the nephew of jurist Jeremy Bentham and had initially studied law. However, inspired by Pyrame de Candolle’s tables of French plants, he later studied botany. His study of seed plants contributed immensely to plant taxonomy.

 50 
André Michaux
(Botanist)
André Michaux
2
Birthdate: March 8, 1746
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Satory, Versailles, France
Died: November 13, 1802